Although the dangers of smoking are well recognised, many people in the UK continue to smoke. In addition to the increased risks of lung cancer and other diseases, smoking can also have an impact on the health of your property, so it is in your best interests to prevent tenants from smoking inside.
The impact of smoking
According to research reported in the Independent, potentially harmful chemicals from smoking can become trapped in carpets and furniture and can later become airborne, causing indirect exposure even when nobody is smoking in the property.
Your property can also be devalued by smokers, as nicotine and other chemicals can accumulate in floors and floor coverings, walls, furniture and on other surfaces. In addition to the aforementioned health hazards, smoke can cause unpleasant lingering smells and can also affect the appearance of surfaces and furnishings. Smoking can also be a fire hazard.
If you can, choose tenants who are non-smokers. State clearly in your adverts that you are looking for a non-smoker, but even if applicants claim not to smoke, it is difficult to be certain whether this is actually the case or not. More than half of the UK’s smokers rent properties either privately or through social housing. Your tenancy agreement can include a clause that states that smoking is not allowed and you can refuse consent if a tenant asks for permission to smoke. If you have an HMO (house in multiple occupation), any shared areas will be covered by the 2017 Smoke Free Law that makes it illegal to smoke there.
Tenants who smoke
If your tenant smokes in the property, you can warn them that this is unacceptable. If this fails to make any difference, you can request a higher deposit that will be sufficient to cover refurbishing costs when they have left. Your property inventory software will help to ascertain likely costs.
Another option is to increase the rent once any fixed term has finished. Again, your property inventory software will give you a good idea of how much the increase needs to be in order to compensate for the damage caused by smoking.
If a rent increase causes a smoking tenant to leave, you will be able to advertise for a non-smoker in their place. Complete redecoration may be required before re-letting the property.